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Durham e-Theses
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Defending Digitalisation:
The Case for Platform-Specific Legislation in the UK

COLE, WILLIAM,JOHN (2022) Defending Digitalisation:
The Case for Platform-Specific Legislation in the UK.
Masters thesis, Durham University.

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The rise of new technologies has changed the world of work, and the 21st century labour market is one in which new methods of work are emerging all the time. Platform work, attained through the use of online or mobile applications, is one such method.
Platform workers are often classified as self-employed and, therefore, are not afforded any basic labour protections, such as access to minimum wage. They often benefit from some flexibility, yet are still subject to controls enforced by the platforms. Thus, platform workers are stuck in a no-mans-land between classification as independent contractors and having ‘worker’ status. The result for platform workers is that they cannot be sure of their labour rights. This thesis makes the case for the introduction of platform-specific legislation, arguing that this is the only means through which we can clarify the protected status of platform workers, to help them find their way across this no-mans-land.

This thesis is split into four Chapters. First, it will begin by determining the nature of platform work, and why it does not sit neatly into any of the three categories of protected status. Second, there will be detailed analysis of the Uber litigation and, in particular, focus on the decision of the Supreme Court. Whilst this is a welcome decision for the protection of platform workers, it does not clarify their protected status. Third, it will be showed that the current tripartite test to determine protected status, requiring mutuality, personal service and control, is completely unsuited to platform work and is the source of much of the confusion surrounding protected status. Instead, a legislative route must be taken to clarify this. Finally, the thesis shall turn to the form such legislation should take, looking to both California’s Assembly Bill Number 5, and the European Union’s recent proposal for a Directive on improving working conditions in platform work, for inspiration. Ultimately, this thesis aims to suggest a legislative test which would clarify the protected status of platform workers once and for all.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Jurisprudence
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Jun 2022 13:11

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